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Pat-n-Eil
03-06-2006, 12:52 PM
How young is too young for Disneyland..

You know, I've given this topic a lot of thought. Then yesterday my friend Rick told me his wife wanted to go down to Disneyland for a week. He has a 2 year old and a 5 year old. As much as I love Disneyland, I tried to convince him that his kids may be too young. In fact, I've come to the decision that stroller aged kids are just too young to enjoy the park. I have come to the conclusion that if parents take stroller aged kids to the park, they are not doing it for the kids, they are doing it for themselves.

First off, you have to know that his 5 year old - while being very intelligent - is also very skiddish and would run and hide from nearly all characters like Goofy or Mickey. He's not adventurous and would likely not enjoy the park at all. The two year old is, of course, too young to even remember the trip.

I took my kids when my daughter was 8 and my son was 5. She was the perfect age and my son was about 1 year away. Aside from not meeting height requirements, that year in school really mattered as far as being with other people.

Now I know you might say I have an ulterior motive. You might say I'm just trying to reduce the number of strollers in the park, but that's not the case. I would argue that it is a side benefit that the reduction of strollers, stroller parking areas and ankle accidents is a good thing, but really, I saw so many kids even this past week when the Park is light that weren't really getting the magic. They were being scolded for messing around (bored) and not staying put (safety) and acting out (crying/screaming) and generally not allowing their parents to have a good time.

Anyhow, I think this is going to be an extremely unpopular opinion - but I think even in Fantasyland and Toon Town, kids need to be at least school aged before they can really enjoy those areas.

(p.s. here's the link to last week's pictures in case you didn't read my trip report thread:
http://www.thompent.com/disney2006/index.html)

dsnyredhead
03-06-2006, 01:12 PM
Um, yeah. You're going to hear alot of different opinions on this topic. My son has been going since he was a few weeks old. By age of one, he was smiling at every character who came near him. He loves the characters, loves being outdoors, stares at fireworks, etc etc. Sure, maybe people think I do it for "me". No, we take him for quality family time. He's two now. The family being together and having a good day and seeing our friends is what it's about for us.

Susan L
03-06-2006, 01:16 PM
Pat&Eil, you and me are in a minority on this thinking. Be prepared for some comments. Although I went to Disneyland for the first time when I was six months old. I still think my parents were nuts for taking me before I was old enough to enjoy all the memories let alone the rides. My first real memory of Disneyland was when I was 5, even though I had been many many times before that.

I always feel sorry for those parents with the very little ones because they always have this look of dred on their faces. We waited until our kids were 8 and 9 before we took them for the first time. We would have gone sooner but, due to our financial situtation we had to wait a bit longer. I'm so glad we waited I don't think it would have been as fun when they were little.

On our last trip the stroller madness at Disneyland at times became way out of control. I was run into 4 different times by stroller drivers, one right over my poor already aching feet. Out of those 4 times I received only one apology. At one point there were so many strollers parked outside the River Belle Terrace that it was blocking the pathway from AL to NOS. I just wish that the stroller drivers would be a little more considerate of others.

geoffa
03-06-2006, 01:16 PM
I think you should take kids when they are old enough to understand what is going on. My nephews were 3 1/2 and 5 respectively when we hit DLR Paris and they enjoyed every single moment. We planned the trip as a Christmas present with their parents and ensured every moment (apart from check in) was devoted to them having fun.

One sad tale though. Some years ago at WDW I saw a barely 12 month old baby being shaken awake to watch the MIDNIGHT firework show with the words: "Gee! Honey look at the lovely fireworks!" - JEEZ!

I'm with Susan L and Pat & Eil on this. How on earth can a baby in carry cot can even comprehend what is going on?:)

Crazy4DL
03-06-2006, 01:18 PM
Brave man! ;)

I suppose part if it is for the parents . . . but only in the sense that it is such fun to watch the little ones with totally wonderment in their eyes. I have to totally disagree that they don't get the magic. We took our kids the first time in 1980, my DD was 3 3/4 and when we went back in 1989 she was so surprised to realize we had not been on a "real" submarine. All ages are fun. There is a different magic to each age and I would not have missed watching the different stages of the magic with my kids for the world.

We got to start all over again with a whole patch of little grandbabies. :D

dsnyredhead
03-06-2006, 01:18 PM
We pretty much let our son nap when he needs too. There is no reason to shake him awake for fireworks. If he needs to sleep, fine. That's what the stroller is for.

geoffa
03-06-2006, 01:23 PM
We pretty much let our son nap when he needs too. There is no reason to shake him awake for fireworks. If he needs to sleep, fine. That's what the stroller is for.
But surely a baby shouldn't be out at MIDNIGHT!:confused:

cfrith
03-06-2006, 01:25 PM
Yes, most kids don't remember much from before the age of 4 or 5, but even at 2,3,4,and 5 they still had alot of fun when we went. I hate when people would say to us "why are you even taking them- they won't remember it"....who cares- we are all having fun as a family at the moment so what's wrong with that? It is family time! And for our family it will probably only happen for a few more years because my husband has the mind frame that Disneyland is for kids.

T-RAT
03-06-2006, 01:26 PM
My kids were 3 and 5 for their first trip to DL. Even though the 3 yr old was too young to remember all of it, and they were both too small for a some of rides, we had an AMAZING trip! We are so glad we started at that age. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher told us not to worry about missing school since the trip would be an experience that we would all appreciate and enjoy, and she was right. We have been since, and each trip is different depending on age, size, and who else is traveling with us. We have enjoyed them all, and are looking forward to the next trip with Grandma and Grandpa!

JookyG
03-06-2006, 01:27 PM
You might say I'm just trying to reduce the number of strollers in the park...

Well that would be my ulterior motive :)

amarvel
03-06-2006, 01:27 PM
I wouldn't think that is young at all, but it might depend on the parents as well. We plan to take our child when he/she is around 2ish for their first time, but we are big disney fans and just being in the park is fie enough for me. and i do think waking a baby to see fireworks is a bit extreme :)

dsnyredhead
03-06-2006, 01:28 PM
But surely a baby shouldn't be out at MIDNIGHT!:confused:

If he's sleeping comfortably in his stroller and covered with a blanket, what difference does it make if he's out at 8 pm or midnight? Does the child know what time it is? Sure we don't normally have him out at midnight, but I don't know what difference that makes. If he's sleeping, we keep him asleep. We don't wake him up.

markarkaymat
03-06-2006, 01:29 PM
I completely agree (and disagree) with you.
I took my DD at 15 mos. EVERYONE told me that it was too young (except for the disney mommies on forums of course). Before I had my daughter I always said that I would wait until my child is 7 before taking them to Disneyland (or any other extensive leisure traveling). Once I had her, that was out the window. (Here's where I agree with you) I tooke her for myself. Purely selfish reasons. I wanted to see her face light up as she saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Pooh, Eeyore, etc... Watching Belle kneels down on the cement to hold my little girl and bounce her up and down....priceless. I'll never forget the most beautiful Belle and how she opened her arms as she knelt down to pick up my DD who was running to her (after it was our turn of course). She posed for pictures too of course but it was watching someone, a complete stranger enjoy my daughter as much as I do...for even that brief moment make the money I spent on the trip well worth it. I LOVE watching Disney through my DD's eyes. While I liked Disney movies and have been to Disneyland when I was a youth (my parents took me for the first time when I was 8) I was not in love with disney and all the magic it provides until I saw it through my DD's eyes. Yes, I do it for myself. And while my DD enjoys riding the rides and seeing the characters she also enjoys going to Chuck e Cheeses and Fun Factory where there are rides for her to ride on (not as good and to scale as Disneyland but it reinforces my point that to her at her young age, a ride is just a ride...some are longer and have better things to look at but it's still a ride). But, (here's where I disagree with you) I think no child is too young to experience EXCEPT if it is not advised by their doctor for fears of subjecting infants/newborns to germs when they are too young to be aorund so many. Disneyland wasn't built to be enjoyed only by those who could remember the memories. It was for everyone. It might be a waste of money to some people because their child will not remember but for others (like myself) it is worth it when you see their face light up. It's like an opinion, everyone is entitled to their own. Some think it's too young, others think it's never too young. If your friends can afford it and they want to experience it through their childrens eyes, you should support it. There aren't as many things that parents spend on themselves once they have kids (most parents give up things for themselves for their children, eg. I won't buy much clothes for myself anymore because I rather buy clothes for my DD even though she doens't need anymore right now), if they're willing to splurge *for themselves* then yay for them!
Even though the 5 yr old might be skiddish, he could enjoy the atmosphere and the tamer rides. To say that he would not enjoy the parks at all....does he not enjoy going to the park to play? Or going to the zoo or aquarium? Many things can be enjoyed from afar and while in the close company of his parents. The 2 yr old, prob won't remember but her parents will :D
And yes some parents often yell and scream at their children in the parks...they try to get their money's worth and ride as many rides and do as many things as they can...at the expense of the magic. As long as your friends know that they should do the parks at their childrens pace and if they miss something they miss something (we had 5 days in the parks and the one thing I REALLY wanted to do was watch Aladdin, we didn't do it) they will surely have a very memorable time. And besides they could always take tons of pictures and *remind* their children that they had a great time at Disneyland.

cfrith
03-06-2006, 01:29 PM
Also, it is so cool that my almost 4 year old believes we are going to see all the princesses at Disneyland- and she believes they are real. In a couple years she'll be like my 7 year old who knows the truth. That is magical!

cfrith
03-06-2006, 01:32 PM
I too, was not much of a Disney fan until I had my girls and saw it through their eyes! It changed everything!

amarvel
03-06-2006, 01:32 PM
Also, it is so cool that my almost 4 year old believes we are going to see all the princesses at Disneyland- and she believes they are real. In a couple years she'll be like my 7 year old who knows the truth. That is magical!

This is the reason we want to take our child when they are in the 2-4 age range. If we took them later it of course will be fun in other ways, but i want that magical stage too.

geoffa
03-06-2006, 01:35 PM
If he's sleeping comfortably in his stroller and covered with a blanket, what difference does it make if he's out at 8 pm or midnight? Does the child know what time it is? Sure we don't normally have him out at midnight, but I don't know what difference that makes. If he's sleeping, we keep him asleep. We don't wake him up.

I'm flabergasted but I won't be drawn.:eek: It's your child, you do what you want.

I think if a kid is recognising characters on TV be it Sesame Street, Mickey or whatever then they're probably old enough to have some concept of DL or WDW. It depends on the child's development. I walked with my older nephew into our local Disney store when he was about 2 1/2 and laughingly remarked "Come and be indoctrinated!"
That was a joke with his mother who knows I'm a Disney nut and it's a joke now so don't kick off about it or I'll have to lay flowers.:D

daisy4me
03-06-2006, 01:38 PM
I believe Walt Disney created Disneyland for the FAMILIES...I also believe that the Characters are in movies and cartoons that are for children. For those who think that small children should not be there I am sorry to say I believe when you see Disney merchandise in the stores it's always geared toward children. You sure dont see to many Disney Princess toys for adults. Sure we all have a right to speak our mind but for those who wish there were no strollers maybe you should go to Magic Mountain or somewhere there arent as many characters that the children like to see. Believe me the pictures of our kids at DL will be cherished for a long time. More so than the pics of the adults.

Mommy2NicknMax
03-06-2006, 01:39 PM
Children won't remember their first steps or the first time they sat up but I sure will. Yes these early memeories are more for me than them. I'll never forget seeing my three year old son hug Mickey for the first time. I cried! My husband who never cries got all teary. Nick won't remember even doing it but we'll never forget.

It doesn't matter to me that they won't remember their earlier trips. I remember them having fun and smiling. It was fun for them "in the moment" and fun for me for a lifetime.

DrivingtoDisneyAZ
03-06-2006, 01:44 PM
You're never too young for Disneyland. :)

We've been going a few times a year for the past three years with our now 5, 3, and 2yo. They love it while we're there, they've each got their own favorite rides, and they remember it once we're back home (and beg beg beg us to bring them back!)

My 2yo is the only one who hasn't quite acknowledged a liking to it all yet.....but he's slow on the verbal so not too surprising. When his middle brother was the same age, he had already developed a favorite ride (I wanna see Yo-Hos, lol).

Skiddishness? I haven't noticed too much with our kids. 3yo developed a deathly fear of customed characters on this last trip, so we just avoided. The year before, this same kiddo got spooked when we tried to get him on Autopia. No biggie, we just took him off and tried the next year (now, he loves it).

Crazy4DL
03-06-2006, 01:44 PM
It was fun for them "in the moment" and fun for me for a lifetime.

That is the beauty of little ones, they truely live in the moment, with total innocent and wonderment. Honestly, who cares if they remember . . . I don't get what difference that even makes. :confused: I can't remember what I ate for dinner two days ago but I still ate. :p ;)

kuusimo
03-06-2006, 01:46 PM
We took our two sons when they were 13 months & 2 1/2. The younger one was too wiggly for that. But since my DH got strep, I ended up taking the older one the second day. We went six months later and they had a great time. Then we went six months after that. The older one remembered a lot that went on there. (He has a very good memory). We also brought along my sister this time. We were able to split up and do more "adult" rides that time. We just went again three weeks ago and had the best time yet. Our boys are now 2 & 4 and they were excited to see the characters, even wanted to meet them. They planned the days and what rides they wanted to go on. Our thinking is that the boys enjoy going, and it is a relatively inexpensive vacation for us when we hit the deals on off season. We have some great memories and you can't buy those. I say that when you feel comfortable taking your child is when you should go.

acpalmer
03-06-2006, 01:47 PM
I guess I just don't understand the logic of the argument that if they won't remember it, it isn't worth doing. I take my 3 year old to the local playground all the time--because he has fun at the time. I don't care if he will or won't remember it ten years from now. If I followed the "they won't remember it" argument, I would never take him anywhere. If he's having fun right in the moment, then what difference does it make if he remembers it when he's an adult? He had fun at the time, and that is important, too. In my opinion anyway.

Am I fully aware that I am taking young ones to DLP? You betcha. I won't be waking them if they are sleeping, I won't be yelling at them about what they may be scared of, I will be moving slow, I will be taking them out of the park for naps, I will put their needs and wants (Toontown or Fantasyland) above my own (Indiana Jones) and that's perfectly OK with me. Because I understand that I am taking young kids and their world is different than mine. We'll go back when they are older and then our agendas might be closer together. Until then, seeing them see Mickey will be worth it. And taking pics so they can see themselves see Mickey will be worth it, too, in the long run. And whether or not they remember it, they will have a great time at the time--which is important to me. Life shouldn't be all about remembering everything. Experiencing is worthwhile in and of itself.

JMHO

dsnyredhead
03-06-2006, 01:48 PM
I'm flabergasted but I won't be drawn.:eek: It's your child, you do what you want.

I think if a kid is recognising characters on TV be it Sesame Street, Mickey or whatever then they're probably old enough to have some concept of DL or WDW. It depends on the child's development.

Yep, we will. ....and yes, my child knows Mickey Mouse.

No roses for me. :D

geoffa
03-06-2006, 01:49 PM
For those who think that small children should not be there I am sorry to say I believe when you see Disney merchandise in the stores it's always geared toward children. You sure dont see to many Disney Princess toys for adults. Sure we all have a right to speak our mind but for those who wish there were no strollers

With deepest respect you don't understand marketing. Sure - toys are for kids but huge snowglobes, Olszewski castles at $200, plates, coffee sets, adult play costumes, big figs are not. And I have to say that this "Family" thing does get to me. There are lots of people in relationships that are not families but can still enjoy Disney. No offence intended.:) And as for strollers - fine as long as you don't keep ramming them in the back of my legs. Stroller only lanes are what is needed!:) I've never understood why when it's really crowded the flow can't be up Main Street on the left and down Main Street on the right or vice versa.